173 comments on “Workbench: Episode 1

  1. I have just started to modify the old design of workbench to be exactly the same as current version using Fusion 360. Happy to see the modified version with blueprints 🙂

    I am building this bench with you 🙂

    Regards

  2. Thank you for this new bench build class.
    The wood you are using looks like white pine studs which can be bought at the big box stores here in Lexington, Ky.

    This encourages me to try this build – a common wood – easily available – fairly easy to work with.

    Mr. Sellers, I really wish I could have been an apprenticed to you.
    Your classes are the next best thing.

    I have a love to work with wood and even though I may never be to the level of an accomplished of a fine furniture maker, the simple projects I do make, I enjoy making them never the less.

    Your new shop looks great – and very helpful in understanding the tools I have are very similar to yours as seen on the table.

    Just make my winding sticks as to your instructions using red oak sticks and walnut and maple trim.

    Thank you again for your gift for others.

    Mark R. Patrick

    • Mark-
      Basic building studs make for a great workbench material. Paul has a few blogs about it. I have found that you can get a lot decent wood out the stud and framing section of a big box if you take your time in selecting and are willing to put a little work into milling to purpose. Will not ever be as good furniture grade wood from a mill, but plenty good enough for making nice pieces.

      • Thank you,

        Sometimes I run across a very clean bundle of studs.
        This build is going to be great.

        Just finished my mallet.

        Sometimes the first build may not be the best, but it gives me enough woodworking skill to make a much better one the second time.
        The experience of woodcraft helps me in my skill set.
        The skills makes my craft work cleaner and better accurate build.

        Thank you for your encouragement.

        Mark

    • Mark,

      That’s exactly what I used to build my bench–one caution though. Big box wood “should” be dry, but sometimes it’s not even close to dry. Sometime you can feel the moisture simply by touch, if so, it’s way too wet! Sometime you’ll cut into a piece and the saw dust is damp or even juicy. In either case, sticker the wood (put thin wooden slats between each piece) and leave it in a dry place for as long as you can. If you try to glue up wet wood it can prevent glue from drying and your lamination can fail. Also wet wood will shrink a lot causing various problems with joinery, warping, cracking, etc. I learned all this the hard way so you don’t have to 😉

      Matt

    • I have a lot of chippings (shavings) as well — I have a friend who uses them for mulch on various plants in the garden which like acidity — blueberries especially! I take him a 13 gallon bag of shavings about every two months.
      I built a “New Fangled” workbench when I first started woodworking a year and a half ago. It is doing very well (I added a regular vise to it instead of using the pipe clamp vises I built into it). It will continue to do well, but at some point I will probably build this bench as well and relegate the new fangled (with its storage drawers) to a side bench in the shop.
      Thanks for this series of videos — can’t wait for the next one to come along. Is this bench going to be the bench for the new shop? It’s very interesting watching the shop grow as you flesh it out with tools, work areas, and storage.

    • I sharpen up before each task, section, so in this case I sharpened before I started and when done I would touch up as needed. For surface planing between laminates it is far less critical to achieve the kind of levels you might strive for say than a table top or other exposed surface. That said, it is a good place to practice reaching near perfection.

    • I use them mostly as fire starter but in the past, when I had veg garden, I used them as mulch. When I had chickens I used them as bedding and then in the chicken run to keep the chickens clean. Then I dug out the shaving in the growing season and used the combination of chicken manure to and shavings to fertilise my plantings.

      • Good to know. I put some in the compost, but I’ve got quite a lot after planing down my boards. I will say that I’m learning. The first board took me about an hour, but I managed to get 4 boards done in an hour today while my toddler was sitting beside me watching a show. I’m really enjoying hand tools, and I appreciate you making this feel less overwhelming, Paul.

      • Anyone reading this should be careful of using walnut shavings and walnut sawdust. Bad for plants and never give them to hooved animal farms, they will kill you because they are very bad for thos animals. But good for human walking paths or wherever you don’t want something to grow very well.

    • Me too. Watching Paul in the garden making that bench…. I’ve watched most everything he’s published since. I, like so many others, am eternally grateful for the opportunity to study at the feet of a master. I have a garage full of machines but find the most enjoyment working with the classic hand tools. I’ve built a house over the last year… now it’s time to build this bench. Thank you Paul and all that have helped with video production.

  3. Thanks Paul! Very timely video, as I just bought some nice Oregon for my very first workbench. I was using an old garden table up to now, but it’s just not stable enough, and too low. There’s one thing I’ve wondered about watching your videos: how frequently do you sharpen your plane blade? For example, did you plane all boards for the laminated top in one go? Or did you sharpen somewhere in between?

    • I sharpen up before each task, section, so in this case I sharpened before I started and when done I would touch up as needed. For surface planing between laminates it is far less critical to achieve the kind of levels you might strive for say than a table top or other exposed surface. That said, it is a good place to practice reaching near perfection.

  4. Hi Paul. Excellent thank you

    I see from the end grain on completed assembly you have alternated rings.
    Did I not hear you mentioning this? Or is it just this result by chance?

    Superb video quality……love the new setup but will miss drooling over your previous tool collection!!

  5. Excellent video and good videography and editing, my compliments to you and the team.

    I had been looking at getting Planed All Round wood from my nearest merchants but watching this has made me think that using CLS might be a better, certainly cheaper, alternative?

    • Do you mean as an alternative to a full width bench top? The well allows for the majority of tools to remain on the bench but out of the way of work in progress. Also, the wide solid-top laminated benches will expand and contract throughout the lifetime of the bench. So reducing the width of this surface can be beneficial.

      • I made a Nicholson with a 24″ reclaimed 100 year old pine top overlapping 16″ wide skirt. I get nearly 3/16″ of swell during the warm months, but I attached it where most goes out the back. I ship-lapped boards under near the bottom for tool storage. Having such a large top does take a while to flatten (about once a year), but I’ve never used anything else. I suppose it’s down to experience or preference. I’ve considered building an English bench to try one out and because Mr. Sellers is so inspiring. It just looks fun.

  6. Thank you!

    Ive come so far since i built this bench last spring under your tutelage. The confidence you inspire, and your ethos has been a never ending wellspring on inspiration. The bench will give you the solid defined work area that is needed to do the beautiful work we aspire to. As a teacher of Building trades in the US, i have modified my curriculum to be heavy on hand tools. I’ve realized the gaps in my own education that you have helped to fill. I love quoting you and your book. ” the way we exercise care and judgement that really counts”, these words ring so true to me and i feel compelled to share them with the young people. I wish you many more years of excellent health through handwork. I have reaped the benefits as well, having recently lost close to 80lbs as a result of handwork” keeps the blood sugars low”.

    your humble apprentice from across the pond
    Ron

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your gift!
    I am curious as to the wood chosen for this particular project. Ive heard over and over to only use a hardwood for making a workbench. Could you explain the choice of wood you decided to use and, is it critical? I’ve heard that the “rings” on the end grain of the wood can effect expansion and contraction, is that something also critical to be aware of?
    I appreciate any insight you can provide, looking forward to episode 2!
    Heather

  8. “Corner to corner is easier, I’m not sure why that is.”

    I think it’s easier because the blade is at an angle and it is slicing through the wood, much like a guillotine blade. At any given time there is a smaller surface area making contact with the blade when it’s diagonal so there is less resistance, as opposed to head on, where the entire surface of the blade is engaging the wood all at once.

    • It is because the shavings are shorter. Planing at some 45 degree angle with respect to the grain makes the iron cut much shorter fibers (a little longer than the iron width) and it is easier for the blade to move ftom fiber to fiber. Meanwhile along the grain the blade is cutting the same bunch of fibers through the whole length; this “catches” the blade a little bit. Compare to chisel movement along and across the grain.

  9. Thanks Paul. I’ve been wanting to build a second bench to work inside the home (too hot in summer for work in the garage) in a spare room and this may fit the bill. My dad has some Doug Fir 2×6’s sitting in his back yard he doesn’t need and has offered to me to use for the top. Would that be too thick?, should I cut down them to a narrower width (much more work)? Obviously it makes the bench heavier but I really won’t need to break it down as I am in my permanent home.

  10. will The Brazos Rocker project be included in the future? I think I remember several years ago it was stated that the videos had been made but that simpler projects would be shown first to work up to the Brazos Rocker.

  11. Thanks for another great series Paul. As it happens, I’ve just finished making a Moravian style workbench using southern yellow pine and Douglas fir 4X4 and 2X4 using your techniques from other videos of yours including the previous bench build you did. Mine is the Will Myers style of portable Moravian workbench and I love it, but I have learned SO much re: proper woodworking techniques watching your videos. Keep up the great videos and stay healthy, happy and wise as you are!

  12. Thank you so much for this video and all your work, it’s really inspiring.

    Where I live is not easy to find wood with all the dimensions from the cut list – do you see any issue on laminating parts other than the bench top like the legs, aprons, well board, etc?

  13. I was wondering about the position of the well in this bench vs the older one that’s on Youtube. The Youtube bench has the well in the middle, but is also a lot wider, while this bench is narrower and the well is towards the back of the bench. If I placed the bench against a wall, and space wasn’t an issue, what would be the advantage/disadvantage of either design? I’m just curious about the differences between the two designs and if there were any considerations other than space.

    • The Well is off-centre towards the rear because the bench is narrower than the YouTube version, and you want to keep a decent sized platform in front of you where most of the work is done. You can put your Well wherever you want it. You could have your Well running along the back edge like Paul’s old bench.

  14. back to basics,this is pauls key draw for me,he makes it so theres no excuse not to do woodworking due to not having this or that,like most people claim you need.

    pauls body of work should be treasured for generations to come

    • No such thing as a silly question. It’s thick on top to provide stability. Weight prevents it moving, and edge-on boards resist flexing. You don’t want your workbench to warp over time, to move, bend, or bounce (even slightly) while you’re hammering, planing & chiseling.
      The Black & Decker Workmates are pretty sturdy for light work, but their real benefit is portability. A rigid workbench, with a thick, solid top is much more stable.

    • Three reasons. (1) The top has to span the distance between the trestle legs, thick will mean less defection. (2) More mass will add to the stability, but you could add mass to the base.
      (3) Top will be planed and scraped from time to time to keep it mostly flat. I also suppose it will help with the making of the tool well. I use holdfast and so my top is even thicker, 4.5 to 5 inches.

    • The benefit is additional mass for the most part. Added mass will help to negate the effect of individual boards wanting to do their own thing over time. The thickness will also allow multiple plannings from time to time to level things out without getting too thin. The increase in weight will also reduce the chances of the bench moving around when you lean into planing, chiseling, or whatever. A couple of horse stall mats from TSC will also help with the shifting and save a tool if accidentally dropped…gasp!

    • Mostly it is practical to have weight that counters the forces of chopping. Laminating the apron to the heavier section creates and angle-iron resistance and the weight under downward pressures resulting from banging in effect give a hammer and anvil experience were direct blows receive a back blow from underneath. Newton’s third law goes like this: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This effectively means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object. In our case the weight of the bench top becomes a force. It works.

    • Like Paul said, it counteracts the mallet blows. After Paul’s first workbench series, I laminated mine out of 8/4 poplar since I couldn’t find any decent “white wood”. Even at 2-3/4 inch thick, I still notice the difference in chopping over the legs

  15. I am as always totally at a loss as to specifically what wood should be used I live in the uk and I am aware that makes a difference. Trying to deal with a timber merchant is not easy when you haven’t got a clue. I’ve made several of the projects and can’t wait to get off my oily HGV fitters bench. Thanks for everything you do.

  16. My husband is the Joiner in the family. He served his time as an Apprentice In Blackpool 1960 – 65. He made all the kwindows and doors and roof for our garage in 1970 a few months after we got married.
    He has just recently finished building a new work bench which is taking up most of the center space of the garage now. He has two smaller benches under the windows on the north facing wall. A lathe on one and dovetailing router on the other.
    Woodworking is becoming a bit of a hobby, now that he is retired after spending thirty odd years teaching Construction & Surveying at the University of Central Lancashire. He has both of your books Paul…you are his inspiration!
    Thank you…

  17. What are the dimensions of the pieces used for the table top? It would be great if that was included in the parts list instead of the final dimensions. Looking at the size and by counting pieces I calculate they are 2 3/8″ x 1 1/2″. They look like 2x4s though in the video. Did paul cut those down from 2×4 or did they come that way?

  18. I have a European style bench I built years ago out of maple, and while it works okay, it proved to have more disadvantages for the work I do, Paul’s current bench seems to be a better choice and will fit my shop better. But, I have the same question as Chason H. concerning the depth of the top. Are we really cutting down 2X4’s to 2 and 3/8 inches?

    I struggle with work plan and cut list measurements that call for certain sized material – say a 1X6 inch rail – does it mean a real 1X6 or the actual size wood we buy ( 3/4″X 51/2″ as measured here in the US)? I’ve seen it listed both ways and unless someone says the size needed means the size of wood we buy, or the actual size listed, I have a tendency to want to produce a real 2 x 6 when that was not the intent.

    So are the bench measurements based on the size of wood we buy or do they need to be as listed?

    • Hello Dave,
      We use actual sizes on our cutting lists to try and avoid this confusion.

      You can certainly make adjustments depending on what you have available, however this does effect other aspects. If for example you increase the thickness of the bench by 1/2″ you may have to increase the overall width of the aprons by the same amount to allow room for bolting the apron to the leg.

      I have now answered Chason above for the stock dimensions.

      Hope that clears things up.
      Phil

  19. I have a few questions about wood and wetness. Yesterday I went out to get 2x4s for this project. However, it’s been raining for the past 3 days, and it was raining yesterday. When I got to the local home depot, the 2x4s all felt damp to the touch. I’ve heard working with damp wood is a bad idea so I didn’t get any. I tried a different store today (not raining), but had the same experience.

    So the questions :
    1. Should I wait until the wood at the store feels dry before buying it? Is it enough that it not feel damp, or do I need some kind of moisture meter to know whether to buy the wood, and whether I can start planing and gluing up the wood?
    2. The only space I have for a workshop at home is the garage. It’s fully enclosed, but not heated, or temperature controlled, and I live in Canada, so the weather varies considerably by season. How sensitive to the weather will the wood stored in the garage be? For example, if it rains one day, does the ambient humidity increase mean I should postpone doing any woodworking in the garage that day, or for a few days?

    I’m really excited to get started on this, but don’t want my glue up to be ruined because of damp wood.

    • That’s an interesting question, in Ireland I’ve seen kiln dried timber that’s bundled in 4 or so lengths and wrapped in plastic to stop moisture. But that was on timber that was planed 4 square so a bit more expensive. Interested to see what Paul & Co have to say on it.

    • Go-ahead and buy your wood now Emery. It’s going to dry-out in your garage the same as it will in the wood-yard. Most of that surface moisture is superficial anyway, it’ll dry-off pretty quickly in a day or two.
      I don’t think water-based wood-glue will be diluted significantly by a tiny percentage of moisture within the wood itself. If anything, moisture will probably cause it to ‘wick’ into the wood further. You’re adding water from the glue into the wood, and that dries-out fairly quickly.
      I wouldn’t be concerned with one day damp, the next dry. That’s negligible. Carpenters construct roofs in the rain! Besides, the design of the workbench allows for expansion & contraction in the well & aprons. Sealing the surface afterwards keeps it stable.

    • Hello Emery,
      I would avoid any wood that has been stored exposed to rain. I would look for a timber merchant, or timber at the timber merchant, that is stored under cover. Then you can be fairly certain that it has been kept out of the rain after being kiln dried.

      One way of testing whether the humidity level of wood you have bought is stable, is to weigh it regularly until the weight stays the same.

      Concerning your working environment, it is certainly better to have a steady working environment, however humidity will always vary somewhat day to day. The choice will be whether you store the wood there or somewhere with a more stable environment. The only way to really tell, is to store some wood there, work it, bring it into it’s final environment and see what issues you come up with.
      Sorry not to be more specifically helpful.

    • The problem with big box stores and some lumber suppliers is, yes, the wood was kiln dried but then the wood travels on trucks, gets wet, is badly stowed pending sales and when it gets to point of sale it is wet to the outside surfaces that were exposed. You can still buy it and take it home and stack it in a dry place and keep it until dry. You shouldn’t have to but in the age of supposed experts and advanced knowledge we have to rely on people very detached from the use and the user.

    • I’m in the same situation, but not ready to purchase my wood, yet. I have the benefit of using any number of suppliers to purchase from, indoor and outdoor, but I’ve already made up my mind that I’m getting it from my local Home Hardware which has outdoor covered lumber yard that is unheated, etc. It should have similar to the conditions to my garage, if that matters.
      Being an absolute newb it probably won’t matter much anyway since it’s going to be in an unheated space anyway.

  20. some time ago now, I made one of the double sided versions, more or less to Paul’s design. Some of the wood that I used had been stored in the garage for years, some was faily fresh from a DIY store. Didn’t really make any difference.

  21. Thank you Paul for sharing your knowledge, experience, intelligence and wisdom in a lovely presentation that touche the heart as much as it lead the brain toward the best practices in woodworking.
    Indeed, your apparently humble way in teaching, training and mentoring woodworking reveal the wonderful and kind human in you who generously share his great experiences and inspires others to embark in a new smart and positive lifestyle.
    Thank you Master Paul .. my guru.
    Thanks to the team.
    God bless you all.
    Ahmad
    Baghdad, Iraq.

  22. Thanks for the video. As usual it is wonderful. In my looking for scrap lumber, I stumbled upon 2 x 6’s used in a very large pallet. There is enough for me to build the entire bench and make the top out of 2 x 6’s. I remember you talking about a 38 inch bench height on a previous video. I think the same rules will apply here? (Bench top thickness plus Bearer Board thickness plus leg height will equal my bench height.)
    I have become disabled and found that working with hand tools applies less stress on my body and has given me a purpose again that I thought I would never have again. Thanks SO MUCH!!!!

  23. This was my first lamination, and hopefully my next one goes better, but I did the best I could and after a day of planing, my bench top is starting to look good. I am having some issues with tear out though. If I just sharpen up and take super thin shavings, will that take care of the problem when I’m doing my final smoothing? With my grain going both directions it’s pretty difficult to avoid going against the grain sometimes. Also, I’ve got a #5 and a #3 plane. I assume I can use them both for this process?

    • I aligned my beams all so that the wood grain was as much as possible in one direction. Some tear out especially around knots is normal, sharpening up and thin shavings help. One thing that might help is to use a York pitch, but I haven’t tried that. And finally expect to use some woodfiller… I have and also Paul does on his benches.

    • There are at least 5 ways to reduce tearout:
      1 – sharpen the blade,
      2 – take a thinner shaving,
      3 – move the chipbreaker close to the edge (as close as 0.1mm or .004in),
      4 – close the mouth of the plane,
      5 – increase pitch angle (angle of attack)
      On a Bailey-style plane, the chipbreaker is the most useful tool for preventing tearout.

      It’s somewhat more efficient to have both a #5 and #3. Because it is longer, the #5 will be more useful for flattening. The #3 is somewhat less useful for flattening, since it will tend to follow hills/valleys more than the #5. You could use either one alone; you just need to exercise more care if you use the #3 for flattening. Ideally, you’d set up the #5 to take a thicker shaving (wider mouth, chipbreaker back a bit), and set up the #3 for a finer shaving (tight mouth, chipbreaker set close). But these are general rules. Do what works best for you.

      • Thanks. I was able to get my top flat. I found just avoiding going against the grain on a few picky boards was the easiest way. Not all of them were picky, but I had a couple that just needed some extra care. Your plane description was spot on too.

    • Other grain tackling things to try, depending upon the circumstance:
      – Plane sideways to the grain, but watch for breaking off the edge. This is helpful when there’s a fair bit still to take off.
      – Try Paul’s circular motion that he uses on end grain, perhaps with a fine set and close cap iron. This is helpful near knots at times.
      – Change directions mid-board as often as needed. You’ll need to deal with the transition areas, and sometimes that can work with a super fine setting or the circular motion.
      – Change to a scraper, if the wood will tolerate it

        • I’m not sure what wood you are using, but be aware that scrapers aren’t great for softwoods. If you are working with really difficult grain that is constantly changing (figured maple, for example) a #80 cabinet scraper will likely be needed because of how much scraping will be required. If you are dealing with saner wood that just has a few reversals, you can use the plane in different directions, as described, and just use a card scraper to clean up the transitions. This is cheaper than a #80 and just requires a card scraper, your sharpening stones and a burnisher. You can use a nail set as a burnisher. Scraping softwood isn’t completely useless, especially if you are just handling the transition areas. I’ve had a lot of luck with Paul’s circular motion in those circumstances, too, on softwood, with a finely set plane and finely set cap iron. Good luck!

    • I’ve wondered about using pallet wood for laminations. I thought it would be difficult to plane because the wood is dried and hardened (in the US at least, all pallets must be heat treated to kill pests). Have you experienced any difficulty in that regard?

  24. Thanks for this entire series – I’ve had a blast working through the material, collecting and rehabbing tools, etc.

    One question about the lamination process:
    In the original video set for the double-sided bench, Paul used a piece of MDF (I believe) during glue-up as a platform on the saw horses. Does this help to limit the potential for twisting when doing the lamination?

    Best,
    Art

      • Thanks!
        Looking forward to starting on this in a few weeks.
        I’ll probably make two – one for basement (it gets pretty cold up here in winter) and one for garage. My wife is making noises about building a new garage with a dedicated workshop, though:-)

    • I just finished mine, and I may very well do the same. The problem is that any flat surface gets filled in any case and then I occasionally need to do a grand cleaning. Meanwhile I prefer to have it fill up my tool well, less chance it interferes with my work and it won’t drop to the floor that easily.

    • I’d think you could just go straight across the top with a giant slab of laminations. I kinda thought about doing just that, but 1) it would make it harder for me to transport (I rent, and therefore move periodically), and 2) I have on multiple occasions had to grind and resharpen chisels that I accidentally pushed off the table and dinged on the floor, so the well is a bit of a safeguard against my own oblivious self.

  25. Ok so I’ve laminated the bench top. Planed the bottom flat and out of twist. I’ve done the same with the top but haven’t planed out all rounded edges yet. My question is, is it best to do this and final finish planing now or when the bench the bench is complete and all togethor?
    Many thanks

    • It depends somewhat on whether you will be using it as a surface to work on. If so, you may want to remove any marks made in the process (although it is going to be a benchtop, so…). Also, there may be a little movement in the top by the time you are ready to put it all together, so I would probably wait and see.

      • Thanks Phillip that was my thinking to do the final flatten and surface finish planning once the bence is complete and top attached. Its smooth and flat at the moment and has only slight grooves from the rounded corners so shouldn’t have any problems using it as a surface to build the rest of the bench on.
        Thanks for your reply.

  26. I should’ve waited for all 9 eps to be up because I built my benchtop the same day the video posted and I’ve just been piddling around in the meantime. I did pick up a Bailey #5 at Dowd’s tool sale this year, and the weight of it over my Stanley #4 is great for flattening the top. I did one whole side with the #4, and it worked just great, but when I got the #5 home and cleaned up, it was like, whoa. Getting a mirror finish on the bevel now, and then we’ll see if I don’t just turn my whole benchtop to curly shavings 😉

  27. I have 4×4 cedar post left over from a bunk bed I built for the kids. They are completely dry now and extremely light. Would you use them for the legs of the bench? My fear is that they are too light, but I suppose they’ll be just as light as pine after it drys all the way. (The post have already been cut in half. I used part of them for a table.)

  28. I have acquired a few pieces of laminated rail car flooring. they are 8′ long, 12.00″ wide, and 2.25 inches thick oak as far as I can tell. The top surfaces are somewhat scared, after all they were a railway boxcar floor. So I am wondering if I take an eight inch off to remove some of the scarring will the remaining 2.125 inches be thick enough for the workbench top? I am aware I will have to shim the bottom for my vise. Comments welcome.

  29. I’m currently planing a bunch of 2x4s for the bench top. I’ve come across three issues that I’d like to ask about:
    1. I know Paul mentioned that we don’t need to be overly worried about twist, but I have 3 boards that seem very twisted. When they are laying between the trestles, across the 4″ width, one side sits about 3/4″ off the trestle surface. The same is true of the board on the other trestle. Should I purchase new boards, or try to plane some of that twist out?

    2. I have a number of boards where the knot’s have been hollowed out. These knots cross both surfaces (the ones that will be glued together, and the end that will either be the top or bottom of the bench top). And they are quite large, about 1/2″ – 1″. Is it ok to glue boards together with these gaps in them? Or should I fill with wood filler first, and then glue them together?

    3. I have a board that has a hairline crack in it. It starts dead centre of the 2×4 side, and shows up on the flat side about 1′-2′ into the board. Should I worry about this, or will this not matter once the board gets glued to the others?

  30. Hello Emery,
    Just checked with Paul and he recommended:
    1. You are best off replacing those boards. That is too much to remove and will throw the rest of the top off.

    2. Do you mean the knots are not there any more? If they are not going to be visible, they shouldn’t cause any problem, so aim for that. If one does end up on a visible surface, Paul recommends filling once the bench has acclimated.

    3. If the board with the hairline crack in it is for the bench top, that shouldn’t be an issue as it will be laminated to other boards. I would make sure it is not on of the pieces on the edge.

    All the best, Phil

  31. Paul,
    I am at my wit’s end dealing with tearout with my construction grade two-by lumber. I don’t know what I am missing.

    I started my bench based on the ‘b’log and original YouTube series with some modifications to fit my standard US lumber and my workspace. I am using US nominal 2×4’s (benchtop and trestles) and 2×3’s (aprons). The US lumber has rounded edges (but I think you mention in one video that that is the case in the UK, too, but your lumber in the original YouTube videos did not appear to have rounded edges). After gluing up my components, there are, of course, furrows where the boards meet because of the rounded edges. On the surfaces that show, I am trying to plane down enough to remove most of the furrows.

    I thought that the scrub plane would be the appropriate tool. I made one by modifying a Stanley SB-4 by rounding the iron and filing open the throat. I have tried (I think) every which way from Sunday of orienting my cuts with the grain and skewing the plane, but I am getting horrible tearouts. They can be up to 1/8″ or so deep, and are often deeper than the furrows that I’m trying to remove.

    I am using my only other plane, a Stanley No. 5, for other plane work. I can take fine shavings with that and largely avoid the tearout, but it would seem to take a month of planing to get rid of the furrows.

    If using the scrub plane results in tearouts deeper than my furrows,…well…using the scrub plane seems pointless.

    This is also the reason I’ve made four milk stool from 2×4’s so far – I’m not happy with the tearout, and haven’t figured out how to address it yet.

    Am I just stuck doing ALL of my planing with thin shavings from the No. 5 when I’m dealing with this sort of lumber, or is there something I’m perhaps missing in using the scrub plane?

  32. “throat. I have tried (I think) every which way from Sunday of orienting my cuts with the grain and skewing the plane, but I am getting horrible tearouts. “

    You might avoid a lot of tear out by NOT orienting the scrib plane cuts with the grain, but planing at a 30°-45° Degree angle to the board. Sometimes it is even better to go directly cross grain with a scrub plane.

    It is not just the direction you orient the plane, but the direction you make the plane furrows.

    Google:

    Paul Sellers concluding the scrub plane series

    for an explanation and a picture.Mind you take provisions to avoid tear out on the far side board edge. Usually a chamfer helps.

    https://paulsellers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DSC_0082.jpg

  33. I have gone straight across, almost along the grain, and every angle in between. I have tried skewing the plane at different angles to attempt to slice through problems, but to no avail. Tearout on the far side is not the issue. I can avoid that. It’s grain dipping around knots.

    • Planeing around knots is tough. I use that lumber a lot and find that finding the direction of the grain and stopping basically on the knot and changeing direction helps but some knots just defy you. A sharp blade, a close set cap oron , and loght strokes minimist tearout.

    • I’m guessing you’ve already tried, but have you tried taking less off by reducing the cut? Knots can be awkward, but generally taking off less, as well as trying the trick of pushing some shavings down the throat of the plane to avoid tearout for specific areas might help.

  34. Without seeing how the plane is set up, I’m afraid I have no other advice.

    I re-read your original post for clues to what you are doing, and a couple things stood out. First, you mentioned you filed the mouth, and I wondered why, since most Stanley frogs can be moved.

    Then I saw your scrub is an SB-4, a plane I have no experience with. So I googled it.

    One of the first hits was this from Paul:

    https://paulsellers.com/2013/05/stanley-plane-sb-4-junk/

    Which may explain why your number 5 works ok and the SB-4 doesn’t.

    Paul’s analysis of the plane isn’t promising. I suppose if might be useable as a scrub with some retooling, but it may be chasing down a setup rabbit hole.

    Sorry. Maybe a picture will find something obvious.

    I would suggest you buy a second iron for the number 5 and grind it to a scrub plane profile ( or grind your old iron as the scrub iron). Then set the frog back as far as it will go on the 5 and use that as your scrub plane.
    New irons are under $10.

    Moving the frog only takes a couple minutes, which would be a pain if you moved back and forth a lot between scrub and finishing, but with planning you only have to do it a couple times a project. I used a bedrock 605 with two irons for the first couple years I went to work. You can save a minute or two if you also buy a second cap iron.

    • I created he scrub plane from the SB4 from Paul’s instructions in which he files a large opening in the throat.
      I have done more experimenting. I can’t keep the scrub plane from ripping out large hunks around knots (and when I talk of tearout, I mean big hunks of wood ripping out – not the “rash” that I can easily deal with), but I played with trying to cut more deeply with the No. 5. It was jamming up with a deeper cut, and it occurred to me to open the throat. Now, I am getting nice, thick shaving with a nice “swoosh” and no tearout with the No. 5. I will probably see how deep I can go with the No. 5, but if it will go much deeper, it would seem to obviate the need for the scrub plane. I just need to close the throat back up for smoothing. (Adding another plane would be nice, but budget is not going to allow for it at the moment.)
      Some months ago, I did a search for how to properly adjust the throat, and did not find much. I read that you want a narrow throat to support the wood surface in front of the cut to reduce tearout, but didn’t find much telling me how to determine “too narrow.” Now I know that if shavings are clogging the throat for the size shaving I want. open the throat.
      Apparently, the scrub plane throat is too large to control tearout even for the largest shaving for which I can push the plane through the wood. With an adjustable throat, I can control tearout by setting the throat commensurate with the cut depth, even for a deepish cut.
      Before now, I have been reluctant to adjust the throat; an adjustment which I did not understand well. I wish that adjustment didn’t require a screwdriver like the other adjustments.
      Thanks for the replies.

      • I have a fancy Lie Nielsen scrub plane, modeled after an old Stanley model. Its sole is quite narrow and the throat is enormous. Perhaps half an inch or more. The iron also is very thick and has a strong camber ground in the edge. It takes a lot of practice to use and sometimes results in terrible tear out. But if you need to hog off an eighth of an inch or more from a board, it’s the beast to use. It works best planing with the grain or traversing a board, planing at about a 45 degree angle. Since discovering Paul’s videos, I’ve outfitted a #4 with a cambered iron….9-11 inch radius seems to work the best. If I’m only removing a 1/16” or less, this is what I use as a scrub plane.

  35. Dear Paul
    Excellent project with clear explanations. My concern is benchtop width, 30 cm(12”). Is it enough? Standard cabinets are 60 cm( 24”) deep and you cannot lay it flat on the top. Any comment from your side about this subject will be appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hello Sven, the over all bench width is 68cm, so that should be fine. The only time it may be awkward is when you want to stand something larger on it’s feet. In that case, a piece of ply or similar that reaches to the rear apron widens the surface you can use.

      • Hi Philip! Slightly related to the previous question. I’m thinking about following the plans but build a solid top for the entire width and attach a tool well on the “outboard” the same way Paul has on his “small joinery workbench”. Anything special I should keep in mind in that case? I do understand that I’ll need to adjust some sizes here and there, but apart from that is there anything that will affect the structure and I should take care of?

        Thanks in advance!

          • Thanks Philip! Yes I know that the sizes are a bit different, but I think I figured them out. I do worry about the movement a little, so my mind isn’t completely set yet 🙂 I’m still considering which bench to build. Have a nice day!

  36. I’m having two issues (I think). I planed 8 2×4’s so that they’re smooth (I’m using a No. 5 Jack plane). However when I put them together as part of the dry run to make the top, there are gaps between many of the 2x4s that clamps are unable to close.

    I believe one issue is that I have limited time to spend on this project, maybe 1-2hrs a week, and often I’ll miss a week. So I may only be able to plane two boards each week. When I come back to the planed boards I sometimes find that they’ve twisted, or warped a bit. Is there any way to minimize this?

    The second thing I noticed when I decided to use my callipers to measure the thickness of the board, and noticed that any given board thickness ranges between 34mm and 38mm, while most is between 35-36mm. The thin spots are often at the ends where I took out the twist in the board, and the thick spots sometimes correspond to knots in the wood. But it’s hard for me to see this variation in thickness with the naked eye, or feel it with my hands. Any ideas on how to I can flatten these boards enough so they’ll lie flat against each other.

  37. Any stateside folks care to share their lumber selection? Are you using standard dimensional construction lumber and if so how much modifying of the plans are you doing? For example, the benchtop lamination – are you using 2×4? if so are you modifying the design or just cutting the lumber down to pauls design?

  38. When assembling the top does anyone find that the width varies down the length of the top? I’m guessing I planed too much on one end of a board than the other end. Would you try to make sure all boards are planed evenly or glue it up then plane the width even down the length?

  39. I often see woodworking programs gluing up a benchtop from 2×4 or 2×6 or whatnot. If you can get a solid slab from a sawmill, is that a good or bad option for the benchtop. Let’s say a solid slab 2×18 inches and 6 feet long?

    • Hi Jeff,

      I passed your question on to Paul and he said:

      You will find that a solid slab is more likely to distort but that’s not always the case and you can always plane any distortion out if needed. A laminated top is used because it does offer much greater stability.

      Kind Regards,
      Izzy

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